APPOINTING A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER – STRUCTURAL DESIGN SERVICES
When consulting a Structural Engineer it is important that you set out your requirements and ask advice if you are not sure about some aspects of the engineer’s work. You should agree the extent of the work you require (the Brief) and the cost of the services (the Fee) and these should be confirmed in writing before your Structural Engineering project starts.
The total fee will evolve from the scope of services required which may include, for example:
- Initial site inspection and report
- Undertaking or supervising site investigations
- Preparing contract documents for issue to contractors
- Administering the tender process and evaluating the estimates
- Inspecting the construction and administering the contract
The cost of a typical structure is fifteen percent of the project cost, whereas the design cost might be one percent. Hence increasing the resources applied to the structural design services can often produce a cost effective reduction in the project cost. This is particularly true for a complex structure.
Contract documents can be simple or complex. In general, detailed specifications and itemised quantities enable the contractors to give their best price. These also help the construction go smoothly. However, in simple works it can be appropriate to invite contractors to tender on their own interpretation of the client’s requirements as expressed by simplified contract documents.
The frequency and scope of construction inspections depends on many factors. In general, a low cost contract will require more inspection for a given quality than a high cost contract. It is important to invite contractors to tender who are of a similar size and quality level, and this should be discussed when the engineer’s fees are being negotiated.